Saturday 29 June 2013

Love me do- Favourite Pixar Love Stories

      Pixar films are known for their emphasis on friendship. Their latest feature, Monsters University, shows us the beginnings of one of their most celebrated bromances, as it were. But, as much as I enjoyed it, I was really blown away by the short The Blue Umbrella that was shown before it. This was a love story, and it got me thinking about the different romances that Pixar has given us. These are my top 10.

Honourable mentions- I think Mr. and Mrs. Potatohead from the Toy Story movies and Fergus and Elinor from Brave are the only other couples in Pixar-verse, and as cute as they are, we don't see the romance aspect of their lives explored much.

10) Lightning McQueen and Sally Carrera in Cars

I barely have any memory of Cars, but I do remember liking their relationship a lot. He's the stud and she's the pretty but clever girl, basically. They were cute.

9) Mike Wazowski and Celia Mae in Monsters Inc.

Or should I say, Googly bear and Schmoopsie poo. The fact that monsters that are more or less based on Cyclops and Medusa can be this adorable is a testament to Pixar.

8) Princess Atta and Flik in A Bug's Life

A Bug's Life is one of the most forgettable Pixar films, which is a shame because it is quite good. One of its best parts for me was the relationship between Atta and Flik. They both want to do good, but don't know how. Flik is the daring one with the crazy ideas and Atta is the one with all the responsibilities, who by the end they realise the worth of each other. It is very sweet.

7) Ken and Barbie in Toy Story 3

Come on, I'm a girl! This was like my first dream couple ever, and to see them brought to life onscreen was a genuine childhood fantasy come true. And I just love how Barbie is the kickass one and Ken is the super flamboyant one.

6) Buzz and Jessie in Toy Story 2 and 3

I adore how the uber cool Buzz Lightyear tends to become speechless around Jessie. When his Spanish settings kick-in in Toy Story 3 and he becomes the romantic charmer he is inside, it is both hilarious and lovely to watch.

5) Linguini and Colette in Ratatouille

When we first meet Colette, she is shown as a really determined woman who has almost forgotten to smile. Enter Linguini with all his charming klutziness, and one magical Parisian kiss later, we have one of the cutest and most "opposites attract" philosophy-affirming couples in animated history.

4) Mr. Incredible/Bob Parr and Elastigirl/Helen Parr in The Incredibles

I really appreciate how movie doesn't show the courtship and rose-coloured, puppy-love years of their life, but rather the tougher middle ages and all the problems that they bring with them, and how these two get through them as both as superheroes and a real married couple.

3) Blue Umbrella and Red Umbrella in The Blue Umbrella

I can't help but connect this short to a quote from Doctor Who
"It's the oldest story in the universe. This one or any other. Boy and girl fall in love, get separated by events--war, politics, accidents in time. She's thrown out of the hex or he's thrown into it. Since then they've been yearning for each other across time and space."
Only Pixar can make a love story between two primary coloured umbrellas this magical and relatable.

2) WALL-E and Eve in WALL-E

WALL-E is the closest thing to a romantic epic that Pixar has given us. A garbage-packing robot who after hundreds of years of solitude finds love in a beautiful and feisty robot and will travel across space to get her back. The scenes when Eve goes into standby and WALL-E tries to make her active again, or that space-dance, are all just so wonderful.

1) Carl and Ellie in Up

Because this is the dream. Pixar, in Carl and Ellie, gave us one of the most endearing, magically human, incredibly touching love stories ever depicted onscreen, all within ten minutes. I'm tearing up just thinking about it because it makes me so happy and so sad. In a film all about the spirit of adventure, I think theirs is the greatest adventure story of them all. And the fact that Carl endeavoured to make Ellie's dreams come true even after her death is just beautiful.

So this was my list. What did you think?

Monday 24 June 2013


Hi peeps! Question- if you were a celebrity, what would you name your baby? I once joked about naming all my future adopted children after various alcoholic drinks. Clearly, I am destined for fame.

1. This week brought with it the very sad and shocking death of actor James Gandolfini, who was just 51. Though I have never watched The Sopranos properly, I really loved his work in True Romance and Where the Wild Things Are. Alex wrote one of his excellent In Character posts on Gandolfini's best performances.

2. So The Amazing Shit-Man 2's production is as all over the place as the first movie was. They cast the lovely Shailene Woodley as the awful Mary Jane Watson and then kicked her out after filming her scenes. Now apparently Sarah Gadon is going to play her instead, but in The Amazing Shit-Man 3. I don't understand why they have announced release dates for parts 3 and 4. What if the world ends by then? And gosh, as adorable as Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Dane DeHaan are, they are going to be really old to play teenagers!

3) Well, to be fair, Robert Downey Jr. has signed on to play Iron Man in The Avengers 2 and 3, which will release in 2015 and probably 2017 respectively. But then, he is awesome and I really cannot picture the Avengers without him, even though it's already like a huge spoiler for his character since he possibly cannot die in the first sequel. If you remember, Joss Whedon (Happy Birthday to him!) had promised more death in The Avengers 2. Ah well. Empire has an infographic on the various cinematic phases of the Marvel universe.

4) Sam Taylor-Johnson, director of Nowhere Boy and wife of Aaron Johnson, is going to direct the very very very very very very very very very very unnecessary adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey. I have read the book due to well, Ryan Gosling, and I just don't see it happening unless they go like, full porno. There are just too many sex scenes. I don't know what they're going to do with this. Felicity Jones's name has been mentioned for the role of Anastasia Steele. I will admit, I am curious as to who finally gets cast as Christian Grey, since every tall, attractive actor in his 20s or 30s has been linked to this role. Hmmmm.

5) Other casting news- Anna Kendrick has been cast as Cinderella in Rob Marshall's musical Into the Woods along with Daniel Huttlestone, who was brilliant as Gavroche in Les Miserables, and will play Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk. This film is getting quite the cast. Speaking of Cinderella, Helena Bonham Carter is going to play the fairy godmother in the new live action movie with Cate Blanchett playing the Evil Queen and Richard Madden as the Prince. Though this is kind of a lazy casting choice, I hope the film is good. Next, Jason Schwartzman is joining the Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Big Eyes, which is being directed by Carter's baby-daddy, Tim Burton. Awesomesauce! Finally, Casey Affleck will be seen in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar along with Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. I really cannot wait for this film.

6) Matt Smith is a bastard. His Doctor Who goodbye video-
How does he manage to look adorable in that get-up?

7) Steve McQueen's next, Twelve Years A Slave, has a number of promotional pictures out which shows stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dwight Henry, Sarah Paulson and newcomer Lupita Nyongo in full costume and action. Early word has it that the villain Fassy is playing is going to take evil to a new level *happy shudders*.

8) Trailers- Sundance-winner The Spectacular Now looks really good, but I don't know how much longer I can take the "being young is awesome" thing. The Perks of Being a Wallflower sort of broke me. The LEGO Movie has a trailer out. Yaay? I don't really care. One of my most anticipated movies of the year, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues has a trailer now and it looks pretty funny, especially that little scene with Steve Carell's Brick and an equally weird Kristen Wiig. The teaser to Disney's Frozen is actually awesome. I am going to look forward to this one. Jobs, which has Ashton Kutcher playing Apple creator Steve Jobs, looks okay. I am not holding my breath though I want to give Kutcher a chance. Finally, I kind of hated The Wolf of Wall Street trailer when it came out but it's like one of those awful catchy songs you can't quite stop listening to, or in this case watching, till it becomes a part of your being. I mean, I can watch an entire film with Leo just bustin' out them moves.

9) Finally, these need to be on my blog because of reasons-
What Graham Norton said.

No, seriously-
*insert the sound of angels singing because this is what Heaven looks like*

And with that, I say toodles.

Saturday 22 June 2013

Magic by Pixar

I cried. 
It was wonderful.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Battle of Wits: Sherlock VS Elementary

If you heard the latest Across the Universe Podcast episode, you would know of my love for BBC's Sherlock. I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed Elementary, since I was convinced I will hate it. Both are modern interpretations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend John Watson. Let's see how both of them match-up.

The Shows

As we can see from the title cards themselves, both shows make it very clear that they're set in present times- modern London in the case of Sherlock and modern New York in Elementary's case. 

As far as the writing and the concepts go, I can safely say that Sherlock is the winner among the two. The Victorian Arthur Conan Doyle stories have been literally modernised in the show, from A Study in Red, which becomes "A Study in Pink" to A Scandal in Bohemia, which becomes "A Scandal in Belgravia" and so on. Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock very much lives in 221B Baker Street even though he wears nicotine patches instead of smoking pipes. In spite of there being only 6 episodes out, each episode is like a TV film in itself and the entire world presented to us is so complete, that we have been totally mesmerised by this modern Sherlock. The writing is top-notch, as it has to be when dealing with as famed a fictional character as Sherlock Holmes.  

Coming to Elementary, though it does modernise elements of the Sherlock Holmes-lore, like the fact that Sherlock doesn't smoke but rather has a drug problem, Dr. Watson is a woman (!) and his sober companion, what it basically is is a typical crime show. Most crime shows on TV usually have that one really intelligent member in the team, though of course in this, he just happens to be named Sherlock Holmes. The crimes in themselves aren't that remarkable. The writing is good enough, especially when it comes to the relationship between Sherlock and Watson (more on that later), but it doesn't sort of grab you the way Sherlock manages to from the second it starts.

The Sherlocks

It's not really fair to Jonny Lee Miller, who does a fairly good job with his rendition of the renowned detective, that he is competing with what has been voted the best portrayal of Sherlock Holmes EVER! Plainly speaking, Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock is the bee's knees (including those of Euglassia Watsonia). His manner of talking, and the speed thereof, the way he looks and moves, and oh the way he condescends- he IS Sherlock. It is completely believable that this is the cleverest man on the planet, and though there are a number of issues that arise due to that, this Sherlock doesn't really give a shit. He just goes into his mind castle and does magic. Even though we get to see things from his POV in the show, which does explain a lot about how he thinks and deduces things, Cumberbatch's Sherlock would be just as brilliant without them. And since he is usually seen as someone above human intelligence and feelings, when he does show his humanity and weaknesses, it is that much more affecting and shocking. Cumberbatch is really doing a wonderful job here and I sincerely hope he wins some accolades for it.

Coming to Miller, we get to see a much more human Sherlock in him. He has struggled with drugs, with heartbreak, is wrong about things many, many times throughout the course of the show and is even apologetic about them. The thing is, I like my Sherlock cold and calculating, which Miller's is not. And even though he is convincingly clever, he isn't quite the genius Cumberbatch's Sherlock is. Like if these two Sherlocks were to meet, Cumberbatch's Sherlock will probably tell Miller's Sherlock shut up regarding his thinking process because it is distracting him.

One clear point of difference between the two is their sexuality. The first time we meet Miller's Sherlock is after a girl has left his house and he is standing shirtless in his living room. His character is shown to be very sexually perceptive and experienced, and one who acknowledges his bodily desires. Though it is never properly revealed, Cumberbatch's Sherlock is almost definitely a virgin. His thinking abilities make it nearly impossible to be attracted to people as he often sees through them. The very first time we meet him, we see how Molly is showering her affections on him, but he is perfectly unresponsive to them. People suggest that he suffers from Aspergers-like characteristics. So from this itself, we can see the two Sherlocks we are dealing with here.

Winner- Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock by a mile, even though I will have no chance with him :/

The Watsons

Dilemma! So here's the thing about the two Watsons- I prefer the character of one and the acting of the other. 

Lucy Liu's Joan Watson in Elementary is a fantastic character. Though she starts out as a surgeon and then becomes a sober companion, which is when she meets Sherlock, she ends up being quite the detective. Joan is very intelligent, often discovering crucial clues in the criminal cases that Sherlock is solving and has missed. She is also very compassionate and helpful and is almost solely responsible for Sherlock's health and sanity. Not only him, she is often seen comforting others in the show and also being the go-between when Sherlock is being obliviously rude to people. To me, she is the more interesting character as we see her struggle in life but then she always manages to solve all her problems and those of others around her. Liu does a great job with her.

Martin Freeman's John Watson in Sherlock is pretty clever too, but the thing is, he is paired up with the far more intelligent Sherlock and thus seems dumber in comparison. He isn't that penetrating when it comes to the cases in the show. I would say he is often the brawn to Sherlock's brains as he usually is the one to throw the punches or pick up a gun. But god, Freeman really fills out this role. His Watson is so beautifully emotional and human. We can feel his exasperation, his protectiveness, his pain, his joys- all of that. He is shown as a military man so it's not like he wears his heart on his sleeve, but Freeman manages to convey all these feelings so well.

I do like how both the Watsons are shown as having scars from their past. After a patient she was operating on died, Joan found that she could not continue on as a surgeon. Oddly though, her subsequent jobs both deal with saving lives, as a sober companion for recovering junkies and then as a consulting detective. I guess she really has a taste for that. John, on the other hand, was a military doctor and was shot during combat. We see him haunted by that till he meets Sherlock. However, what he misses is the excitement that kind of life had which is why he enjoys working and living with Sherlock so much. 

Winner- I'm going to go with both.

The Police Captains

This one comes purely down to one's preferences. If you are into the slightly bumbling and jokey British police officers, Rupert Grave's Lestrade in Sherlock is the one you'd like. And if you are the kind to like the simple and straightforward American policeman, Aidan Quinn's Gregson in Elementary is your guy. They are both equally capable blue-collar men who do their jobs and put their trust in Sherlock.

Winner- The scales tip slightly in the favour of Lestrade, because he's just so adorable. Plus, he has said one of my favourite quotes about Sherlock- "Sherlock Holmes is a great man, and I think one day, if we’re all very very lucky, he might even be a good one."

The Irenes

Elementary builds a myth around the character of Irene. The most extraordinary love of Sherlock Holmes's life, the death of whom leaves him in spiraling down the rabbit hole of drugs. Also, he is obsessed with finding her killer and exacting revenge- one can even say that is his reason to live. We are completely captivated by her and the kind of woman she was whenever someone talks about her. When she is *SPOILERS* found alive, it is quite a shock. She is of course played by the ahmazing Natalie Dormer, who brings both the sass and the craziness to the role. One can understand why Miller's Sherlock (not quite so sure about Cumberbatch's) will fall head-over-heels with a woman like that. Of course the sad thing is that we get to see far too less of this Irene and we basically only know her through other's perceptions of her.

In Sherlock, Lara Pulver's Irene Adler is quite the sexy lady. A lesbian dominatrix, she is enthralled by Sherlock and subsequently he by her. She is the only woman who is able to baffle him. I love how plain seductive she is, from her "armour" to that message tone. Steven Moffat got a lot of heat for dumbing down Irene in "A Scandal in Belgravia" as she is shown to be dependent on Moriarty, but I thought she was pretty kick-ass still. She just had that allure to her, and Pulver did a fantastic job. I really hope we see a return of Irene in the future series.

Winner- I would say Pulver's Irene just because she is more fleshed out. Love Dormer though.

*SPOILERS* The Moriarties *SPOILERS*

The only reason why I have put Sherlock's Andrew Scott's picture and not Elementary's _____ picture is because we found out the former's identity in the third episode itself and we only find out the latter's in the end of the second-last episode of the first season. Also, they do build up the latter Moriarty's identity quite a bit, so let's just leave people guessing, even though I had correctly predicted who it would be. Plus, if you are on Tumblr, you see Scott's pictures everywhere.

In spite of all the anticipation to who Moriarty was and whatever the future seasons will bring, the Elementary one just doesn't measure up to Scott's pitch perfect reinterpretation of Sherlock Holmes's arch nemesis Moriarty. He is so deliciously evil, so full of gleeful malevolence, that a part of you cannot help but root for him. He does his crimes with a flair, and his personality shows that too. He is nothing like what I expected him to be, which is just one of the beauties of Sherlock.

Winner- Scott's Moriarty would win because of his ringtone alone. 
"Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin alive, stayin alive"

The Others

Now, let's compare the other recurring characters in the two shows. Elementary only has one of these, Detective Marcus Bell, played by Jon Michael Hill. He, like Gregson, is a good police detective. We find out that he came from the shadier parts of the city but rose in rank. He usually isn't the biggest fan of Sherlock but he still respects him.

Unfortunately for Bell though, he does not hold up against any of the recurring Sherlock characters, much less all of them together. The omniscient Mycroft Holmes, played by the show's co-creator Mark Gatiss, is a delight every time he is onscreen. His hilariously strained relationship with his brother Sherlock and his endless supplies of girls who are always picking up poor Watson are just some of the reasons why Mycroft is awesome. Next, we have the lovely Molly Hooper, played by Louise Brealey, who was supposed to be a one-off character but the creators of the show, Gatiss and Moffat, could not get enough of her. We are ALL Molly Hoopers- perpetually amazed with and in love with Sherlock, but incapable of having him. Still, Molly has this endearing quality to her, and she isn't as silly as she seems since she too is capable of observing people, especially Sherlock. Finally, we have Sherlock's and John's landlady, Mrs. Hudson played by Una Stubbs, who is just the perfect mother-figure in their lives, fussing over them and caring for them. She is really cute.

Sherlock also has the super annoying Agent Donovan and Sherlock's verbal punching bag Anderson. Coming to one-off cast members, I really loved Russel Tovey's disturbed Henry Knight in "The Hounds of Baskerville" in Sherlock, and it was such a treat to see Vinnie Jones as Sebastian Moran in Elementary.

Winner- One of the best things about Sherlock is its vast array of supporting characters. 

The relationships

One of my biggest issues with Elementary is how dull it becomes when the lead pair isn't being shown. However, when they are there, the screen lights up. It was rather ingenious of the writers to make Watson a woman and make her Sherlock's equal. I love the fact that they are just good friends and there is nothing romantic between them (though that possibility is always there). There is a great deal of respect and understanding and the same amount of irritation, especially when it comes to Watson. On one hand, Watson helps to get Sherlock's life back on track, and on the other hand, Sherlock helps to find Watson's true motivation to live. They are proper partners and help each other every chance they get. Just the season finale goes to show how much Watson gets Sherlock, which is something he really treasures. My two favourite moments with them are:
1) When Sherlock tells Watson that the thing different about him, "empirically speaking", is her.
2) When they are illegally performing post-mortem on a corpse and Sherlock is complimenting Watson on her surgical skills, to which she retorts "We are not having a moment here."

And then there's Sherlock. Sherlock and Watson are polar opposites here, which is why they get along so well together. Yes, Sherlock drives Watson up the wall, and Sherlock is baffled by Watson not deducing things at the same speed as him, but what they are, are really great friends. Watson is Sherlock's only friend and Sherlock is Watson's best friend. Just watch "The Reichenbach Falls" to see what both of them mean to each other. Also unlike in Elementary, where Watson had to prove herself to Sherlock at first, I think Cumberbatch's Sherlock is immediately drawn to Freeman's Sherlock.
Apart from all of "The Reichenbach Falls", and everytime someone thinks they're in a relationship, one my favourite moment of theirs was when Watson gets irritated with Sherlock's um... looks and says "You being all mysterious with your... cheekbones, and turning your coat collar up so you look cool." Not helping all the rumours, John :P

Winners- Both. I love them.

The look etc.

Another of my favourite things about Sherlock is how cinematic it is. It's set in a grey and shadow-y London and that really helps build the mood and the tone for the show. One of its best-looking episodes "The Hounds of Baskervilles" saw Sherlock and Watson heading out to the English wilderness, and all the high cliffs and rolling plains are just gorgeous. This is contrasted in the same episode with the pristine white and very artificial-looking settings of the Dartmoor research base. Also, as I touched upon above, we actually get to see things from Sherlock's viewpoint, as words and calculations appear as just as he is deducing them. They create very cool visuals and give quite an edge to the show and the character.

Elementary in comparison is, as I wrote earlier, a very ordinary TV show. We see the crimes and we see the New York settings- all the townhouses and subways and streets. They are all perfectly adequate, but nothing really pops out as far as the look is concerned. Also, though this has more to do with the way the episodes are written or perhaps with the genre itself, but everything that is shown to us has a pay-off later on in the episode. It becomes slightly annoying because the show becomes very predictable.

I'd also like to briefly touch upon the fashion of the two shows. Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock's look has become quite a style influence, which is very cool. Like the show, people in Sherlock wear rather muted colours and sensible clothes, though with an air of sophistication, more or less. I mean duh, they're British. Of course, this is why Irene popped out so much. In Elementary, Sherlock is much more hip and Watson's fashion choices are often distracting, but not in a bad way. Well, not always. I mean, I would love to be able to walk in high-heeled boots all day. Good on Lucy Liu.

Winner- Sherlock is just better-looking.

So, *obviously*, the overall winner is Sherlock!! Elementary is a fun show, a good show, but Sherlock is, like the man himself, great. I would recommend both, but I will really, really insist on Sherlock. Trust me, your life will change. Cannot wait for series 3 starting Halloween this year!

Just because it's not all about the wits :P

Wednesday 19 June 2013

Across the Universe Podcast: Episode 4

Episode 4: Trapped in a Box

This week, MetteSofia and your truly list our favourite TV shows. Now I must warn you, this episode is quite long. The actual recording went on for about 2 and a half hours, but thanks to Mette's awesome editing skills, we have made it as short as possible. I promise you though, it is a lot of fun. If you are still not convinced, here are some of the things you can expect from this episode:
1) What is Michael Buble's favourite movie?
2) How to correctly pronounce Mads Mikkelsen's name?
3) A German song!
4) Loads of giggling :)

0:11- Chick chatter
2:46- Trailers
3:21- Interesting Movie of the Fortnight
20:15- General discussion on each of our top 4 TV shows
1:33:46- Plugs and Goodbyes

The National "The Rains Of Castamere"
No Doubt "Trapped In A Box"
Theme songs from our favourite TV shows +
John Barrowman, Catherine Tate and David Tennant "The Ballad of Russel and Julie"
The Beatles "Across The Universe"

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Sunday 16 June 2013


          Hello everyone! So guess what? My exams have been postponed for another month which is great news except that they are starting the same day as the new ANTM cycle which is the Guys and Girls cycle AKA my most anticipated thing on TV ever! Gahhhhhhh.
           Don't judge me.

1) Gary Oldman is eyeing Benedict Cumberbatch and Ralph Fiennes for his second directorial feature, Flying Horse. It will be about a photographer who murders a theatre critic who is having an affair with his wife. I think this will be excellent. All of them should definitely act together, even though Oldman has separately costarred with both the actors- with Cumberbatch in Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy and with Fiennes in the Harry Potter movies. Honestly though, if the Harry Potter films were still being made, Cumberbatch would have definitely made it into its gargantuan British cast. He could have been a Death Eater, or maybe a younger version of Snape. Yes! They should actually make a Snape spin-off with Cumberbatch- I will not mind one bit. Anyways, I want Flying Horse now!

2) Speaking of other Hogwarts alumni, Emma Watson is going to reteam with Harry Potter producer David Heyman in Queen of the Tearling, the adaptation of the first book in a trilogy. The story is "set three centuries after an environmental catastrophe when a malevolent Red Queen holds considerable power". People are calling it the Game of Thrones for women, which makes no actual sense if you watch the show- the women are the biggest badasses in Westeros. Like duhhh. Still, I am really happy that Watson is going places, though I don't know if another blockbuster series is a good idea. Having said that, she has already played one of the most inspiring female role models in recent times so she is an apt choice for this.

3) This news came out on the morning of the day Matt Smith announced his retirement which was when my world ended. Anyhoo, Karen Gillan, Smith's ex-costar and companion on Doctor Who, is going to play a lead villain in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie, which is brilliant! She will be a baddie alongside another beautiful tall person, Lee Pace, and Michael Rooker. Rumours suggest that she will play a bounty-hunter named Angela but we will see if that's true or not. The film will also star Chris Pratt, John C. Reily, Zoe Saldana and Glenn Close. So happy for Gillan- redheads FTW!

4) Other casting news- Eddie Redmayne is going to play Stephen Hawking in Theory of Everything. The film will chronicle that period of Hawking's life when he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease and was told he has a couple of years to live, causing him to go into depression and have problems with his to-be wife. It sounds like a very demanding, dramatic role and it will be interesting to see what Redmayne does with it. It will be directed by Man on Wire director, James Marsh. Next, Leonardo DiCaprio is going to play Rasputin and Jason Hall, the screenwriter who wrote the upcoming Steven Spielberg-Bradley Cooper movie American Sniper, is going to pen the script. It's still very much in early development but it sounds cool and weird and I'm glad to see that Leo is still after that Oscar. GIVE HIM THAT OSCAR, YOU BASTARDS! Finally, the dude who did win the Oscar, Christoph Waltz might be starring in Roman Polanski's True Crimes which is based on a New Yorker article about a Polish detective solving a cold case that leads him into Poland's underworld. Waltz has worked with Polanski on the delightful Carnage, where he outshone everyone else, and it would be very cool to see Waltz do something subdued and grim like this.

5) Oh btw, are you guys listening to our podcast? You can click on the page above named "Across the Universe Podcast" to listen :)

6) I am on such a Bollywood music binge right now, all because of Yeh Jawaan Hai Deewani. This song in particular-
Yes I am plugging a song in a language most of you don't understand about a festival most of you don't celebrate but imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do etcetera etcetera. THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!

7) Posters- Well, not actual posters but discarded ones in fact. Spike Lee's Oldboy remake starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley didn't use these 4 posters but I think they're pretty cool, especially the trunk one.

8) TrailersTouchy Feely made by Lynn Shelton who direcred the wonderful Your Sister's Sister, looks just as sweet and touching (haha get it?). This too stars Rosemary DeWitt, along with Ellen Page, Scoot McNairy and Allison Janney. Filth has another awesomely disgusting red-band trailer out. I really want to watch this. The Way, Way Back looks very good too. Loving Steve Carell and Sam Rockwell in it. 300: Rise of an Empire looks as over the top as one would expect. It kind of sucks that the main guy isn't hot but hey, Eva Green is one gorgeous lady. The trailer to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug has me concerned as it somehow features more Legolas than Bilbo. Also I disapprove of us not hearing Benedict Cumberbatch's voice in it. Thank god for all the Lee Pace though. Pretty elf is pretty. Naomi Watts-starrer Diana has a teaser out and it looks very boring, though I have faith in her. Aside from her exciting new project, Karen Gillan is also the star of Not Another Happy Ending which looks cute albeit predictable but I love her so I will watch it. Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer star in gangster-family-comedy The Family, erstwhile known as the v. exotic Malavita, and I might watch it. Might. The trailer of the week/fortnight is *obviously* Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. It looks amazing and I'm really loving Cate Blanchett losing her mind and Sally Hawkins being just awesome. Two Oscars please.

9) Finally, how awesome is Hannibal? And Mads Mikkelsen? I give you-

Mads Mikkelsen

Sads Mikkelsen

Glads Mikkelsen

Bads Mikkelsen

Knee-pads Mikkelsen

Rads Mikkelsen

Plaids Mikkelsen

Cool-dads Mikkelsen
Honestly, I just wanted a lot of Mads Mikkelsen on my blog. Muahahahahaa.

Be careful of what or who you are eating. Good bye!

Saturday 15 June 2013

"What's the S stand for?"

            SERIOUS it seems. When the first trailers of Man of Steel hit the net, I was a little concerned about it looking too grim. And well, it really really was.

           Man of Steel (2013) takes us back to the origins of the famed son of Krypton (a very accurate description actually), when Jor-El sends his only son Kal-El to Earth as their home planet is on the verge of destruction due to natural factors and the rebellious General Zod. Kal grows up as Clark Kent, raised by human parents who believe that the world isn't ready for his superhuman powers and his extraterrestrial truth. When he departs to look for answers about himself, Clark constantly, though discreetly, helps people around him. This grabs the attention of Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Lois Lane who tries to find out who this guardian angel is. When finally Clark finds out the truth, the fact that he is a child of two worlds, he has to make the choice about what kind of man he wants to be. In the midst of all this, an old enemy resurfaces.

              Let me start with what I really loved about Man of Steel, and that are its beginning and its ending. The film starts off in Krypton, but unlike the slightly bland planet shown in the first Superman movie, this is a wondrous alien world with all sorts of structures and creatures. One can understand why it is considered advanced. Here we meet Jor-El, played remarkably well by Javert Russell Crowe, trying to drill some sense into the Kryptonian bureaucrats and then kicking ass once Zod attacks. We see the kind of sacrifices made in order for Kal-El to live. It's a spectacular retelling of a story we're all familiar with. Then there is the ending, which after some two hours of oh so seriousness, shows us another well-known facet of this tale- Superman as Clark Kent, and also gives us much-needed levity and cause for hope. It is interesting to note that in a film all about hope and whatnot, it is this part that succeeds best.

        Now for the really big chunk in the middle. Right before I saw Man of Steel, I revisited Superman (1978) and properly watched for the first time Superman II (1980), and I really enjoyed myself. I thought it was a good idea to remind myself of the tale and the man before watching the latest installment of this saga. In retrospect, that hasn't worked out for the best as we should really not compare them. If anything, people should now start weighing all superhero movies against Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy. And this precisely was my biggest issue with Man of Steel. As much as I loved the trilogy, I hate that all superhero movies now think that they too need to get all deep and serious (except my beloved The Avengers of course). That formula worked with Batman, but it just feels off with something as fun and, well, slightly silly (you can try and make us forget the red underpants as much as you want) as Superman. Now I am not a comic book person so maybe I am getting this all wrong, but I really wish Man of Steel was a little more lighthearted than that.

            I understand that they were trying to make us more familiar with who Superman is, and I appreciate it as well, but it could have been done with a little humour, no? And I felt that the film had the right elements for it too. I really admired what Henry Cavill was doing when he was being slightly condescending to humans. Christopher Reeves's Superman too had that smirky endearing quality to him. Coming to the villain though, I was really saddened by how they made Michael Shannon's Zod kind of dull. Okay, he's bad and he has different motivations than Terrence Stamp's megalomaniacal one, but then? My favourite part of a superhero movie is always the supervillain (unless you are Tony Stark of course), and that's because they are entertaining. He didn't even say "Kneel before Zod" which is an awesome catchphrase! And honestly, where were the catchphrases? He was just evil. Meh. Before watching the movie, I was certain that I would get to see Shannon bring his special brand of zany villainy to the game (see: Premium Rush) but he didn't, and that was really disappointing.

          Next, the love interest. I was most excited for Amy Adams's casting as Lois Lane. I personally like Superman Returns, but even I can't defend Kate Bosworth who was terribly miscast as the feisty lady love of the man of steel. Adams seemed perfect, but alas, she caught the serious bug too. Again, I was intrigued by the film showing Adams's Lois as a proper, determined, intelligent, investigative journalist who is actually able to find out who Superman really was and who does not fall for that completely idiotic glasses on-and-off schtick of his. However, somehow in all of that, all her charm was lost which is insane because when I think of Amy Adams, I picture sunshine and rainbows. Sadly, none of that made it into the movie. Margot Kidder was absolutely adorable as Lois Lane in the original Superman movies and I really believed that they would get this right with Adams.

          And then there was the romance. I think I prefer Superman II a little over Superman except for two sequences in the latter, both of which had to do with Superman's and Lois's relationship. The first was when Superman took Lois on a flight (that's literally what it was) and it is simply one of the most magical scenes in film history. And then when, spoilers for those who haven't watched the film yet, he turns back time to save her. I mean, god that's romantic and where can I find a guy who can do that for me?! But I digress. Of course the ending gives us hope for such things in the definite sequels, but my problem here was that Man of Steel lacked that magic that their relationship brought to the other films. And I didn't understand why, spoilers again, they even had that romantic moment. They had this mutual respect thing going on that I could get behind, but then that happened and I was left very confused.

            My final issue with the film is the fight sequences in the climax. They just went on and on and on. I was completely desensitised by the end of it, and somehow I think so was Superman. The amount of destruction that this film shows possibly surpasses those in any other such films. It just felt really pointless and counter-productive, to be honest. And it was so weird to see Superman really not caring about any of it and just going on fighting and probably destroying more things than the villains would have done themselves. I think if they had cut out one of the three major action sequences at the end, probably the first one in Smallville, it would have been so much more effective and less brain-hammering. The seriousness followed by all the chaos and noise became too much for me at times.

             Even though all this makes it sound like I hated the movie, I assure you I did not. I liked it actually, just not too much. I praise the overall look of the film. Most of the wide shots were absolutely breathtaking, and the effects with Krypton and their very unique-looking technology were really cool. Some of the fight scenes, especially the hand-to-hand ones did look video game-y at times, but that can be ignored.

         As I touched upon earlier, I thought that Henry Cavill was quite commendable as our hero. He fits the role as snugly as the new suit fits him ^^ He was just really believable as this extraordinary man, both physically and emotionally. And as the female soldier says in the end, he's hot and that does not hurt one bit (all the chiseled jaw-ness *sighs*). Again, Russell Crowe did a pretty good job too, even though I laughed the loudest when his character died. Well, no one else actually laughed but that's because their sense of humour sucks. Kevin Costner, who played Papa Kent, was also good, although admittedly I did not like the character a lot till we saw what he did for Clark in a really fantastic scene that resonates with me more than that entire cacophony of a climax. My favourite supporting character in the film however was Martha Kent played by Diane Lane. I absolutely loved her. She was so wonderful and caring and her relationship with Clark was perfect. I have nothing to say about Lawrence Fishburne's Perry White except that he was boring and forgettable.

          Zack Snyder, who directed the film, was an interesting choice for it. It must be noted that he *has* made one of the best superhero movies ever, Watchmen. As I said, even though I liked that he showed us how Superman came to be, properly and in detail, I just wish he had been less heavy-handed with the material. He got the tone so right with Watchmen, it is a shame that he got side-tracked with the Nolanisation in this. Of course Nolan is a producer and though that will bring audiences into the theatre, I don't know how happy it will make them once in there.

             I went to watch this with my little brother and my mother. My brother absolutely enjoyed every second of it and my mother got a headache and therefore hated it (thank god, we didn't go for 3D. I would not have heard the end of it). Though I am more on the side of my twelve-year-old-going-through-a-weirdly-aggressive-preteen-phase sibling, I can understand my mother's viewpoint too.

         If I were to make an equation for Man of Steel it would be Snyder's Superman + Nolan - Charm. If you are up for it, do go and watch it.